What is your role within Brunsdon Financial?
Head of Corporate Services.
How did you come to this role?
I joined Brunsdon in 2005, virtually 15 years to the day, originally to help with administration of the first large pension scheme that Brunsdon had secured. Since then, I’ve developed within the employee benefits part of the business, looking for ways in which it could be developed and grown.
Initially, we focused heavily on group risk and healthcare and that is still a massively important area for us. I did a lot of work in that area. Then, when pension auto-enrolment arrived, we helped many clients through the rigors of auto-enrolment – a very complex and unknown area for many clients. This was when the employee benefits part of the business really took off, and I developed through to a shareholder and then a director in the business.
I’ve moved through all parts, from administration, into sales and consultancy, management and now hopefully leading the business forward. I can honestly say within our Employee Benefits business I’ve done every role: administrator, manager, consultant, and now heading it all up. It’s a great privilege, and honour to be in this position.
What do you like most about your role?
Although I get less opportunity these days, I still love meeting clients, old, new and potential. We have had many of our clients for many years, and I have long term and excellent relationships with them.
I’m a competitive person and the thrill of winning a new client, or of existing clients asking for our help is also always great.
If you could wave a magic wand to achieve anything you wanted at work, what would it be?
We have achieved many things already, but I’d like to continue to grow the business and to cut a lot of the red tape we have to wade through.
I would also like to make those in the industry who give us all a bad name disappear with my magic wand. It would be very different with just the good guys around!
What advice would you give someone starting out in business now?
I think working hard is really important, but also having a passion and drive for whatever you are going to do. That makes working hard easier.
I would suggest that someone should always look for an opportunity to support the business they are in to grow. If they see an opportunity, not to be afraid to approach those in a senior position, but to present them with solutions to problems.
I think above all to be excited by success, and be competitive. Strive to be better than others, and to make your business better every day.
What’s the best piece of business-related advice you were ever given?
“If you could look through John Smith’s eyes, you will buy what John Smith buys” passed on by our Chairman, Brian Morman. I’ve laughed over it many, many times, but it’s right. Look at your sales process as if you were the buyer. If you would buy it, then hopefully so will your client!
Many moons ago when I worked for Xerox the mission statement was: “Customer first second nature” that has never left me either.
If you could, what would you tell your 21-year old self?
DON’T GIVE UP. When I was that age, I was prone to giving up, letting the world defeat me. I changed shortly after, and have kept changing, but its key to me now, in everything I do, in and out of the office. Persevere, look outside the box, find a way. But don’t give up!
Who are your business heroes?
Interesting one, no one I could particularly name, but I always have an appreciation for people who develop their skills and create a business from nothing.
A good example for me would be someone like Ant Middleton, who has, if you have read (or in my case listened) to his books gone from more or less nothing, to success in his initial focus on the special forces, and then developed his business aims through to the TV shows and the speaking he does now.
Outside of work, what do you like to do?
I enjoy spending time with family: wife Caroline, who’s always been my rock of support through my career, and son George, who I’m extremely proud of as he develops in his educational and rugby goals.
We have two labradors, Stanley and Spencer, and I spend a lot of time with them out in the Forest of Dean. I played rugby for many years for Cinderford and Lydney RFC, then did some coaching. I don’t do that anymore as now that my son plays on Saturdays, I want to watch him. But I do still go up to training and help out coaching the younger groups when I can.
Finally, after a busy week at work I really enjoy to spend some time match fishing at our local lakes. They are quiet and peaceful, though sadly not many fish!
How would you like to be remembered, a) by your friends and family and b) by your Brunsdon clients?
By our Brunsdon clients: as a professional person, who had their interests as the upmost priority. Someone with high standards, and good morals, and someone who delivered what they said they would.
By my friends and family: I’d like to be remembered generally as a decent bloke! Someone who encouraged others to achieve the best they could, be that in their career or in the sporting environment. Also, as a great father and as someone who loved to compete at all things, and loved to win. And I imagine I’ll be remembered as someone who loved a beer or two as well!